Here is a selection of photos I took on Saturday in Singapore. You can’t see any Red Bull, Toro Rosso or Williams cars – I simple could not get any shots of these dark cars right yesterday evening.
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the 2009 Singapore GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. Few drivers had their final Q3 runs cut short after Rubens Barrichello crashed causing red flag with less than 30 seconds to go. It was not the best of qualifying for Jenson Button who missed out on Q3. Rubens Barrichello’s advantage for Sunday race won’t be that big however as he will drop five places on the grid following gearbox change.
Bingo, it is possible to get Formula One on the front page of major daily paper. This is what you need to do:
Step 1 – You ask your driver to crash the car deliberately
Step 2 – You fire the driver 9 months later
Step 3 – The driver tells on you and scandal (or “gate”) is born
Step 4 – A year after the original crash the new guy who replaced the fired driver, manages to crash in similar fashion on the same track at the same spot
I am Singapore this weekend enjoying the Grand Prix. Here are few pictures I took on Friday. I will post more as the weekend progresses and as I slowly figure out how to handle the tricky lighting conditions. The photos are taken around the turns 1, 2 and 3. (Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.)
The bad news for Renault continue. What appears to be direct consequence of the race fixing scandal two major backers of the ING Renault F1 team ended yesterday their deals with the team with immediate effect.
First came the news from Mutua Madrilena. Apparently Renault’s “substantial breach of FIA rules and regulations” has led the Spanish insurance company to terminate its contract.
Yesterday FIA published the complete dossier of evidence, the official decision and surprisingly even posted the audio recording of the hearing (and the decision). You can download the documents and listen to the audio here.
We have all known the decisions of the World Motor Sport Council since Monday. Now we also know how and why the council made those decisions.
Perhaps the only secret not leaked out before the hearing was the Witness X – an unidentified Renault employee who testified in very much the same fashion as Pat Symonds. This whistle-blower provided the key evidence that there had been conspiracy and named Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet as the conspirators. Witness X was present at the Singapore race day meeting but played no part in the conspiracy.
The World Motor Sport Council handed suspended lifetime F1 ban to Renault (suspended for 2 years), life time motor sport ban to Flavio Briatore (it appears to include driver management as well) and 5 years ban to Pat Symonds. The WMSC concluded that Fernando Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1’s breach of the regulations. Here is the full text of the verdict:
And here it comes. ING Renault F1 Team issued statement today informing that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team. The team also announced that it will not dispute the allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. So, it took Piquets only about 6 weeks to get their revenge …
It will be interesting to see what effect will this have on the outcome of September 21 WMSC meeting….
The full text of the statement:
A meeting took place between Nelson Piquet, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds few hours before the 2008 Singapore race. The tactics for the race was discussed. That is where the possibility of deliberate crash is said to have came up.
On Friday FIA announced that representatives of ING Renault F1 have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, 21 September 2009.
The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso.
A lot has been written about this case in recent days, here are links to some interesting articles and blog posts on the Nelson Piquet’s 2008 Singapore GP crash topic:
Bizzare, bizzare … And I am not talking about the pole position or podium for Force India. FIA confirmed that an investigation is underway regarding the crash in Singapore last year by Nelson Piquet that resulted in above pictured safety car period that seriously contributed to the unexpected and lucky race win the Renault driver.
“The FIA can confirm that an investigation is underway regarding alleged events at a previous world championship race.”
I was there in Singapore watching the race from the grandstands with my friends. We joked about the conveniently timed crash by Renault driver that helped the other, we joked. Who would want to believe that someone can be mad enough to ask a driver to smash his car into the wall.
Now it looks like some fresh evidence has surfaced and FIA decided to step in. One can wonder if the sudden attention a year old accident is getting may have anything to do with the recent unhappy departure of Nelson Piquet from Renault F1 team.
This is going to get interesting … I am also interested to see how will Renault the company react to this…
Does not happen too often that I find F1 related video contents on our local news website. But here is one from SCMP.com featuring Singapore GP and some men behind it as well some thoughts from ESPN Star Sport’s Steve Slater on Singapore GP and on F1 in general that include another gem (this time actually a funny one I think): “Is it going to be Formula One or Formula the other one ?” .